Do you want to be a leader in your field and make a difference in Sri Lanka? Australia Awards Scholarships are your opportunity to gain a world-class education and become an emerging leader for development with strong links to Australia. EFC Specialised Training & #Disability Resource Centre opened the doors to graduates with disabilities to develop their career with a Master’s degree in Australia. The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, Specialised Training & Disability Resource Centre, and the Australia Awards team conducted training on applying for the scholarship in March 2021. An Australia Awards Scholarship provides the opportunity to gain an internationally recognised qualification from an Australian university. The career of persons with disabilities will benefit from new knowledge, leadership skills, and the links they create in Australia and the global alumni network. On their return home, they can make a vital contribution to the economic and social development of Sri Lanka. This will support creating an environment with dignity and justice for all persons with disabilities.
Mobility International USA (MIUSA) and the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC) Specialised Training & Disability Resource Centre organized a programme on Mobilizing Women Leaders with #Disabilities for Inclusive Responses to Gender-Based Violence During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Southern Province in January 2021. The programme was held at the Equality Based Community Support & Training (ECSAT) in Galle. Exceptional accomplishments of these programmes are; 51 women with disabilities, 30 women with non-disabilities, 10 men with disabilities and 10 men with non-disabilities (total of 101) ToTs were trained in the physical environment on mobilizing women leaders with disabilities to for inclusive responses to Gender-based Violence during the COVID pandemic. It was conducted in all 09 provinces of Sri Lanka and 01 national-level programmes to reach precise grass root levels within communities of Sri Lanka.
27 women with disabilities, 13 women with non-disabilities, 05 men with disabilities & 04 men with non-disabilities were trained virtually on the same topic as well.
EFC Specialised Training & #Disability Resource Centre together with Mr Joel Snyder, President of the Audio Descriptions Associates USA conducted the Audio Descriptions training in September 2019 at The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon. Arts providers (performing arts producers/presenters, visual art professionals), educators, writers, artists and vision impaired persons were trained on how to do #AudioDescriptions for videos and films.
At the conclusion of the session, participants experienced:
Who are “the blind”?
The history of Audio Description
Active Seeing / Visual Literacy
How to develop skills in concentration and observation
The art of “editing” what you see
Using language to conjure images
How to use the spoken word to make meaning
Mr Udara Chathura, an EFC trainee who was trained in “audio descriptions” did a short film with audio descriptions which is the first audio-described film in Sri Lanka. The movie was shown to vision-impaired persons at the EFC Specialised Training & Disability Resource Centre in April 2021. Mr Udara Chathura also did research with the vision-impaired EFC trainees on “the importance of Audio described films in Sri Lanka”.
Mobility International USA (MIUSA) and the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC) Specialised Training & Disability Resource Centre organized a programme on Mobilizing Women Leaders with #Disabilities for Inclusive Responses to Gender-Based Violence During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Sabaragamuwa Province in January 2021. The programme was held at Sri Ramya Reception Hall in Ratnapura. The provincial-level programmes were structured to have consultations with stakeholders and resource persons, Promoting “Be-Safe” App (This app will help women with disabilities to be safe and get information and peer support in Covid period and emergency), Production of GBV video, Communication materials: leaflets, social-media posts & videos, radio programs, capacity building of TOT in Sexual and Reproductive Health to minimize the Gender-Base Violence and building a network support system.
35 women with a physical disability, 22 hearing impaired women, 2 women with a learning disability, 17 vision impaired women and 2 women with psychosocial disability benefitted through physical and virtual training from the grassroots level. 43 women with non-disability and 15 men with non-disability were also sensitized on the prevention of gender-based violence during the Covid-19 pandemic. Organizations working for Persons with Disabilities, Civil Organizations, Government Departments, Ministries, Women Ministry, Human Rights Organizations, Women Networks, Women’s Organizations, Universities, Research Institutes, Police Department, Embassies, Legal Organizations, Mental Health Organizations, Media, Sexual & Reproductive Health Organizations, USA Organizations, UN Organizations, Rural Development Organizations andSchools supported this initiative to support women with a disability during Covid-19 pandemic.
The Federation of Information Technology Industry Sri Lanka (FITIS), organized the Sri Lanka Internet Day 2021. The conference was conducted virtually under the theme ” Digital Inclusion”. Ms #Manique Gunaratne was a speaker at this conference to speak on “Digital Inclusion for Persons with #Disability” in April 2021.Societies all over the world are increasingly reliant on technology for their home, work and social lives. This has increased in the last year, given the need for social distancing.
Internet-enabled digital technologies have the potential to democratize access and allow market innovators to disrupt and find better ways to serve more people. While the gains of technology are manifold, this increasing reliance on technology has a dark side – the fault lines are drawn around access. The biggest beneficiaries of technology are therefore those who already have prior levels of access. Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), women, the elderly, and those from backward social communities tend to be excluded from digital economies and their gains.
In this context, this panel discussed the various dimensions of access challenges, the goals of policymaking, and the opportunities for market innovators and design solutions, and also thought about how Sri Lanka and India can collaborate more fruitfully. The following areas were discussed at the panel;
The known challenges around access.
How the innovators and civil society be more attentive to these issues of access.
The challenges innovators face.
Opportunities and challenges to make programmes be better designed to be inclusive.
How to contemplate policymaking.
The scope of formal and informal governance mechanisms.
What should be left to the markets?
Embedding access approaches from the beginning have worked out, the pitfalls and the challenges.
How to work together to ensure we learn from each other’s successes and prevent failure.
The Panelists were:
Manique Gunaratne, Manager, Specialised Training and Disability Resource Centre, The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon
Mobility International USA (MIUSA) and the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC) Specialised Training & Disability Resource Centre organised a programme on Mobilizing Women Leaders with #Disabilities for Inclusive Responses to Gender-Based Violence During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Central Province in January 2021. The programme was organised with the support of the “We for Our Rights” organisation in the Kandy district. The programme was held at the Centre for Handicapped in Kandy. These provincial-level programmes aim to build or strengthen partnerships between non-disability specific development organizations, government, and women leaders with a disability to promote inclusive GBV services and programmes in COVID-19 pandemic responses.
The University of Colombo conducted training on Disability Awareness and Sensitization under the Faculty of Arts – AHEAD grant and implemented in collaboration with the Centre for Disability Research Education and Practice (CEDREP) and the Staff Development Centre (SDC), the University of Colombo for the non-academic staff in December 2020. Ms. #Manique Gunaratne conducted the session on #Disability etiquettes.